I often write on the issue of alignment within organizations. I know from both personal experience as well as from working with numerous organizations the pain that an unaligned leader can bring to the organization.

Unaligned leaders essentially hijack their entire team from the rest of the organization. It happens in churches, missions and other ministry organizations. Unfortunately, when this happens, and the leader is redeployed, (often outside the organization) it often takes great time and energy to bring the team back into alignment with the organization as a whole. As a senior leader who has had to deal with this on a number of occasions I know the harm it does and the incredible effort it takes to rectify the situation.

Ensuring alignment throughout an organization is one of the most important jobs of a leader and one of the most critical issues to constantly monitor. When senior leaders allow leaders in their organization to drift or act as independent contractors they take their staff in the same direction. The longer it is allowed to exist the longer it will take to rectify. 

How do you ensure that your leaders are in alignment? Alignment always requires great clarity as to what the organization is about and what the non-negotiables are. Without clarity there will never be alignment.

Second, Senior leaders must spend quality time with leaders throughout the organization, dialoging, asking questions, probing and observing those who lead throughout the organization. And, asking questions of staff throughout the organization. 

If one knows or senses that there are alignment issues, push into it. It may well be that the issue can be resolved. Sometimes resolution means that a leader who is operating as an independent contractor needs to be moved out of their role. Remember though that where nonalignment occurs it impacts everyone on that team or in that division and therefore hurts the organization as a whole.

Philosophically I deeply believe in empowering leaders in our organization and our leaders have a huge degree of freedom. What I cannot do is to delegate and ignore issues of alignment. I never take it for granted, guard it constantly and talk about it regularly.

If you are dealing with alignment issues you may want to read Leading From the Sandbox which deals with clarity, healthy teams and healthy leaders.
  • Jul 03, 2013
  • Category: News
  • Comments: 0
Leave a comment